The Maddening Roar

Session 015
Bug Hunt!

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The party traveled through the cavern below the Dragon Crypts that had been used by the Cult of Belashyrra as a ritual meeting place until they reached the Dhakaani ruins. As the party entered the first room, they quickly found themselves surrounded by kruthics, giant acid-spitting insects that arrived via several large tunnels in the room’s surrounding walls. After defeating the kruthics, the party explored the room in more detail.

The walls were decorated with mosaics and bas-relief depicting a great war between the goblinoids of Dhakaan and great tentacled beasts from the realm of Xoriat. Mummified corpses slumped in alcoves around the room’s exterior, and a large pile of blackened skulls sat in the center of the chamber, held in place by thick iron bars engraved with red script in the Goblin tongue. A faded battle standard depicting a stylized griffon on a red background hung from a silver pole that rose from the center of the skull pile. Using a magical ritual, Nemis granted himself the ability to read the Goblin script:

“Gnoth, slayer of weaklings, keeper of the Axe of the Ashen Crown, protector of the Guilded Cage, even in death she is stoic and strong. The might of Xoriat has not bested her. Hell goes with her.”

The party opted to explore the kruthic-made tunnels rather than the chamber’s original exits. In the first stretch of kruthic tunnels, the walls of which were lined with a greenish, gelatinous film, the party found the skeletal remains of a lone goblin. Among the goblin’s possessions was a metal box that contained several coins minted in the goblin-run nation of Darguun, a thin journal, and a scrap of leather with a goblin palm print and a downward pointing arrow inked on its surface. Nemis, still under the effects of the Comprehend Languages ritual, read the journal, which was written in the Goblin tongue. It revealed that this goblin was one of a small group of Kech Volaar, or Word-Bearers, who had traveled to Gnoth’s tomb from the nation of Darguun to recover “the Cage.” The journal describes their journey from Darguun to the Dragon Crypts. The last entry, mentioning that the group was to enter the tomb the following day, was dated roughly a month ago.

The party then continued to explore the kruthic tunnels, fighting many more of the insect-like creatures and discovering the bodies of several more goblins.

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Session 014
The Enemy of My Enemy

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The party spoke with the leader of this cell of Daask, a kobold named Slassek. Slassek was informed that the party may have had something to do with Moguul’s disappearance, but Tivira and Saiph managed to convince the kobold otherwise. Slassek then explained that the men who had sent the group to find Willam were members of a cult, one that was on the wrong side of Daask for the moment.

A client of Daask had apparently had an item stolen by the cult and the client wanted the cult eliminated as retribution. According to Slassek, a magical trap protecting the item killed one of the thieves. All that remained of the thief was a decapitated head and a severed hand with a crude tattoo on the palm that marked the man as a member of a tribe of feral humans who lived in the slum district of Fallen. In addition, the thief was wearing a necklace with a preserved eyeball that marked him as a member of the Cult of the Dragon Below. This was enough information for the client to demand the elimination of the cult. Although brutality and murder were skills that Daask excelled at, uncovering members of a secret cult were not. Thus, Slassek offered the party a generous sum to discover all the members of the cult and eliminate them. After some cautious deliberation, the party took the kobold up on his offer, returning the following day with the eye necklaces obtained from the cultists as proof of their deaths. Slassek paid the party a large sum of gold for the necklaces, although the kobold was clearly skeptical that the party had played him into paying for a service that the party had already completed.

The party then spent time researching the Seven Rubicons and found that each was buried with a great hero from the Dhakaani war against the invading daelkyr. The nearest tomb was near Sharn, under the Dragon Crypts cemetery where the group had already fought the cultists. The party recalled the Dhakaani ruins that were revealed following the minor earthquake when the cultists were destroyed, and they returned to the area to explore.

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Session 013
A Tying of Loose Ends

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During the interrogation, the party learned that the head cultist, Brynn Attul, was actually one of the priests of the same Church of the Silver Flame that Silas Hiram had been an abbot of. It became clear that many, but not all, of the cultists were members of the same Silver Flame cathedral. The cultists apparently revered an entity known as Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes, a daelkyr lord who has been imprisoned deep beneath Khyber since the time of the Dhakaani empire. The cultists were working to free him to usher in a new age of peace and perfection of forms. None of the cult members knew where Willam was, and they admitted that their desire to find Willam was out of a concern that as a member of the cult himself, he may reveal their secrets to whomever may have kidnapped him. Considering that they had gathered as much information as possible from these cultists, Jak ran them through with his blade, taking great pleasure in feasting upon their souls, before tossing their bodies down the stairs, closing, and locking the sarcophagus.

The group then returned to Sharn, where they hired House Medani to cast an Object Reading ritual on the preserved eye necklaces of both Brynn Attul and Silas Hiram. This revealed that Vestan ir’Simul was clearly a high-ranking member of the same cult and that they were working to recover the Seven Rubicons, which they believed necessary to free Belashyrra.

Armed with this knowledge, the group cautiously made their way to meet with the representative of House Cannith, concerned that it may now be a trap laid by Vestan ir’Simul. The group met a lone human woman calling herself Elaydren d’Vown. After a few tense moments, the group finally opened up to the woman and let her examine the journal that the group had found on Bonal Geldem’s body. She claimed that Bonal had, in fact, recently been working for her to recover a family heirloom: a pendant that can act as a key to unlock a House Cannith foundry deep within the Mournlands. Bonal had been very close to finding the location of this pendant, and that the final page in his journal mentioned that the pendant may be hidden in one of the original House Cannith foundries deep below Sharn, in a section of the ancient goblin city of Ja’Sharaat. She offered the party an opportunity to accompany her and her team to locate the amulet, but they politely declined for the time being, not revealing that they may already have the heirloom Elaydren seeks.

The party then looked into the aftermath of what had happened in Silas Hiram’s office in the Cathedral of the Cleansing Flame. Dark smoke trails indicated that the office had burned strongly, but the temple itself still stood. The party heard rumors that there was an internal investigation into the fire within the Church, but that church officials had thus far kept the Sharn Watch from looking into the matter, claiming that “no crime has been committed that warrants the interest of the city.” The party used this to their advantage, planting rumors throughout the city that the Church of the Silver Flame had become overrun with cultists of the Dragon Below and that this fire was part of a witchhunt that pitted priest against priest.

Finally, the group continued their investigation into the disappearance of Willam. They returned to Shamukaar Tavern in the lower reaches of Sharn, where they managed to locate the orc who had apparently spoken with Willam the night of his disappearance. The orc told them that the boss wanted to see them, and he led them through the sewers of Sharn and into a hidden structure, where over a dozen monstrous humanoids sat in a speak-easy-esque bar. Nearly all of them had tattoos that marked them as members of Daask.

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Session 012
An Eye for an Eye

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The party fought their way through several human and orc cultists, each of which wore a necklace that pierced a preserved human eyeball. The sound of chanting and drumming could be heard deeper within the natural cavern. The group passed through a narrow chamber covered in red, ever-moving sigils. Jak, Tivira, and Nemis were able to mentally force the sigils to take shape, and when they did, they read: “Hollow Canticle,” “Box of Sorrows,” and “Coil of Deceit.”

The party fought and killed a large number of cultists who had just completed a summoning ritual that had drawn forth an enormous, ten-foot-diameter eyeball. The group defeated the cultists and destroyed the eyeball, revealing a flesh-covered passage leading deeper into the earth where the “socket” of the eye would have been. In addition, the destruction of the eye caused a minor earthquake that caused a section of the cavern to collapse, revealing a set of ancient ruins beyond. The ruins appeared to be of Dhakaani origin, although the party refrained from exploration because of the apparent infestation of the ruins by giant insect-like beasts called kruthics.

The group managed to keep the head cultist from dying and brought him and two other surviving cult members back up the stairs into the mausoleum, where they intended to interrogate them.

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Session 011
Devil in the Church

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Jak, infuriated by the revelation that Silas is a member of a Cult of the Dragon Below, threatens to kill Silas. Through tense interrogations, Silas eventually admits to being a member of a cult of Belashyrra, an imprisoned daelkyr lord believed to be responsible for the creation of beholders and other many-eyed creatures. He also admitted that there were four other members of the cult within the Church of the Silver Flame. Silas said that Willam was one such cult member and that his disappearance threatened the cult’s secrecy, which is why Silas so desperately wanted Willam found.

Nemis misunderstood Jak’s intentions and broke Silas’ neck during the interrogation, killing the abbot of the Church. In the papers on Silas’ desk, the party discovered that four acolytes, including Willam, were paid well above their station. They also discovered evidence that Vestan ir’Simul’s business, the Red Eagle Skycoach Company received a donation of several thousand gold pieces from the Church of the Silver Flame’s coffers. In addition, Silas was wearing a necklace with a preserved human eyeball, a clear symbol of Belashyrra. The group also found, in a locked drawer, a map of the nearby Dragon Tombs cemetery marking a particular crypt, as well as a large iron ring inscribed with the initials, “A.K.”

The party eventually decided to gather all the papers in the room, wrap Silas’ body in blankets, and set fire to the room. They left through a secret door that led out the back of the room and made their way to the Cogs, where they eventually found a crematorium and cremated Silas’ body, claiming that he was a plague victim from a nearby village.

Following that, around the midnight hour, the group made their way to the Dragon Tombs, where they found the crypt marked on Silas’ map. Two hooded figures that the party later identified as Belashyrra cult members were waiting in the tomb. The party killed one of the cultists and intimidated the second into surrender. Using the iron key from Silas’ desk, they unlocked the large stone casket, opened the lid, and descended down a staircase hidden within. At the bottom of the staircase, the group encountered a pair of hooded figures as well as two orcs. Farther down the natural cavern, the group could hear chanting and the sound of tympani drums.

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Session 010
An Extinguished Flame

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The group was hesitant to commit themselves to helping either Vestan or Silas, and they left to find Saiph. Once the group was reunited, they discussed their options and chose to investigate the disappearance of Willam. At the Cathedral of the Cleansing Light, they spoke with Silas as well as several acolytes. During their investigation, they sensed that Silas knew more than he was letting on. In addition, they found a note in Willam’s clothes that suggested that he may have met someone in Shamukaar Tavern, the same tavern where Tivira had assaulted and killed a man several nights before.

At the tavern, Jak and Saiph (Tivira, Nemis, and Kin stayed in the Morgrave University Library) confirmed that Willam had been there the night of his disappearance. The young man had apparently met with an orc, they had an argument in which Willam called the orc a liar, and the two stormed out of the tavern. The barkeep described the orc as having a chipped left tusk as well as a partially severed right ear.

The group returned to the Cathedral of the Cleansing Light and after the evening prayer ceremony, they met with Abbot Silas. Jak attempted to intimidate the abbot into telling them everything that he knew about Willam’s disappearance. Silas was on the verge of saying something, but remained silent. Saiph noticed Silas glancing worriedly at the scattered papers on his desk and the elf started gathering them up and looking through them while Jak held Silas still. To the party’s surprise, hidden beneath the papers, crudely scrawled onto the surface of the fine oaken table was a large symbol of a half-closed eye surrounded by an inverse sun, which Nemis and Tivira recognized as a symbol of one particular Cult of the Dragon Below, a demonic cult that worships a powerful entity imprisoned deep within Khyber.

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Session 009
Blades of the Lord

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The party then turned to leave the ruins, and on leaving, they were attacked by a group of warforged at the entrance to the ruins. During the ensuing battle, it became clear that these warforged were mercenaries fighting for the infamous Lord of Blades, a warforged leader who operates out of the Mournland and seeks to place warforged in their ‘rightful’ place as inheritors of the world. One of the warforged carried a note written in an ancient language that Nemis recognized as a variation of an ancient phonetic script used by the giants of a bygone age. The note roughly described Kin, Tivira, and Nemis and suggested that they may have “the book”. It also mentioned obtaining a “key” and then returning “home.”

Saiph returned to the main House Medani enclave in Sharn where he met personally with the patriarch of the House, Baron Trelib d’Medani. Trelib relayed his suspicions regarding the ‘citizens’ that had assisted Saiph in saving the Seventh Tower and hinted that he believed Saiph may be withholding information from the Medani family, although he acknowledged that Saiph likely had valid reasons for doing so and admitted that he fully trusted Saiph. Trelib informed Saiph that Arik Redtree had recently traveled to Sarlona, the home of the Dreaming Dark-controlled Inspired. He suspected that the plot to destroy the Seventh Tower may have been designed to cause fears and nightmares, which are the negative emotions that power the Dreaming Dark. Saiph left after informing the House that he believed that the Lord of Blades may be initiating a plot of some kind in the city.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party visited Vestan ir’Simul in his Skyway mansion. Vestan was in the middle of a meeting with Silas Hiram, a priest of the Church of the Silver Flame. Silas excused himself and the group explained the recent events in the Cogs privately to Vestan. Vestan requested that the party negotiate with Daask on his behalf to allow exploration of the ruins of Ja’Sharaat. He also informed the party that he had arranged a discrete meeting with a member of House Cannith for the following day. Finally, Silas interrupted the conversation and Vestan asked the party if they would help Silas search for one of his acolytes who had gone missing recently, a man named Willam.

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Session 008
A Foundry Amidst The Ruins

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In one section of the ruins, the party also found a building crafted of a different stone than the surrounding walls. The metal door bore the symbol of House Cannith and when Jak held Bonal Geldem’s journal up to the door, it magically opened. The party quickly defeated a pair of mechanical hounds guarding the building and discovered that the building was a small House Cannith forge that likely dated to the earliest days of the House, some thousand years ago. In a secret compartment in the rear of the forge, the party found several magical items as well as a pendant bearing the House Cannith insignia on one side and a map of a coastline on the other. The pendant appeared to be a key of some sort with an inscription in Common that read “3 Turns Right, 3 Turns Left, 1 Turn Right, Then Push.” On the side of the pendant with the Cannith insignia, there were several raised pips that might serve as a key.

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Session 007
A Dark Dream

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The party decided to briefly sleep in Moguul’s small apartment in the Cogs, and during the night, they had a collective dream in which they were attacked by Arik Redtree and several Dreaming Dark nightmare spirits. Eventually, the party destroyed all of their assailants and woke up, but Tivira knew that the dream meant that she was being hunted by the Dreaming Dark. In addition, the party now believed that Arik survived his fall and was in league with the Dreaming Dark.

Each member of the party also had individual dreams that seemed prophetic, although some were reluctant to share these dreams with the other members of the party.

The following day, the party returned to the ruins, only to find that the entrance seemed to be watched by goblins bearing neck tattoos that marked them as members of Daask. The party distracted the goblins long enough to sneak into the ruins, and they began a thorough investigation.

They found that the ruins seemed to form a museum of sorts, with each room describing a different part of a great war between the goblins of the ancient Dhakaani empire and monstrous, aberrant, tentacled creatures from another realm. The information in the ruins, coupled with the party’s own knowledge, led them to believe that aberrant creatures from another plane of existence somehow made their way to this realm and attacked the Dhakaani empire. A great black dragon named Millisandrox gave the goblins of the Dhakaani empire seven small boxes that could be used to defeat this invasion. Eventually, the portals to the distant plane were severed and the tentacled creatures that were trapped on this plane were either killed or trapped in magical prisons deep beneath the earth.

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Session 006
Into the Cogs

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The party left Vestan’s estate and immediately made their way to the Cogs. They found Vestan’s property in the Cogs and explored the attached Dhakaani ruins, but all they initially found were a pair of goblin corpses being fed upon by some beetles. The party retreated back to the Cogs and hired a local bugbear named Moguul to help them translate the goblin language that was inscribed along the walls of the ruins.

Moguul and his friends informed the party that they believed that the reason the workers had stopped working was because they had been “asked” to stop by Daask, a local crime syndicate run by monstrous humanoids who live in the Cogs and the slums of Sharn. Even though Daask sells addictive narcotics and traffics in slavery, they are largely respected in the Cogs as the only reliable law enforcement, and when Daask makes a request, it is seldom ignored. Moguul and his friends knew nothing more about the matter, though.

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